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Home Health Hospice Care celebrates $2.5M expansion of Community Hospice House

By Christopher Roberson - Staff Writer | Nov 20, 2023

Scott Flegal of the Home Health Hospice Care Board of Directors and CEO Barbara LaFrance celebrate the opening of the East Wing at the HHHC's Community Hospice House in Merrimack on Nov. 16. Courtesy photo/Home Health Hospice Care

MERRIMACK – After 18 months of construction, Home Health Hospice Care recently celebrated the opening of the $2.5 million expansion of its Community Hospice House on Naticook Drive.

During the Nov. 16 ribbon-cutting ceremony, Barbara LaFrance, president/CEO of HHHC, said the building’s new East Wing has six suites capable of accommodating up to 230 new patients for a new total of 600 patients at the facility.

She also said the project was minimally invasive to patients and staff members.

“We were able to care for patients through this whole construction,” said LaFrance, adding that the project was funded entirely by the Steele Foundation for Hope. “Expanding our Community Hospice House with additional warm, beautiful suites supports access to timely, specialized end-of-life care when it is needed the most.”

Dee Pringle, a member of the HHHC Board of Directors, spoke about the immaculate care her husband received at the Community Hospice House.

Having lived in Londonderry for 32 years, Pringle said her husband Gene began experiencing neurological problems in 2006. Later that year, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Commonly known as ALS, the disease eliminates motor neurons ultimately leading to paralysis and death, typically from respiratory failure. Although tremendous strides have been made to slow the progression of the disease, there is still no cure for ALS.

As Gene’s condition continued to deteriorate, Pringle decided in 2008 that it was time for her and her husband to move into Summerfield, a 55-plus condominium development in Amherst.

During their two years at Summerfield, HHHC staff members routinely came in to provide Gene with occupational and physical therapy services.

“They were absolutely fantastic,” said Pringle, adding that there was always someone available, even in the middle of the night. “I’d call the night person and she’d answer the phone in 30 seconds.”

By 2010, it was clear that another change was needed as Gene had progressed into the latter stages of ALS. The Community Hospice House was the answer. Yet, Pringle and her husband were skeptical.

“I thought it was going to be a hospital,” she said.

However, she and Gene quickly learned that this was not the case at all.

“It smelled good, there were things cooking in the kitchen,” said Pringle.

Gene passed away later that year in what Pringle called a “beautiful experience” all thanks to the dedicated staff at the Community Hospice House.

“This facility is the crown jewel of healthcare in Southern New Hampshire,” she said.

In addition to serving on the HHHC Board of Directors, Pringle also went on to become chairwoman of the Good Cheer Society.


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